After Sarah Sanders and her family were kicked out of a restaurant owned by a Trump-hater, Rep. Maxine Waters said on MSNBC, "I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it's wrong for what they're doing on so many fronts."
She added, "I want to tell you, these members of his cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they won't be able to go to a restaurant, they won't be able to stop at a gas station, they're not going to be able to shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them. They're going to protest. They're absolutely going to harass them until they decide that they're going to tell the president, 'No, I can't hang with you.' This is wrong. This is unconscionable. We can't keep doing this to children [referring to the children of illegal immigrants being detained at the border]."
Rep. Waters, are you sure want this kind of America? Are you sure you want this new civil war (or, should I say, new war on civility)?
I understand the moral outrage against President Trump. He's an incredibly divisive leader, and he has quite an unsavory past. I get it.
I personally don't like his name-calling (as clever and effective as it is), and I understand how offensive his personality can be. And I recognize that some of his policies are controversial.
That's why it's so hard for many Americans to understand why evangelical believers like me voted for him and why we continue to support him (while, at times, clearly differing with him in private and in public).
To repeat: I get it.
But what Rep. Waters is calling for—or at the least, celebrating—is absolutely intolerable. It is destructive, it is ugly, and it is un-American.
Rep. Waters, do you know how millions of us felt during the presidency of Barack Obama? How deeply grieved we were by his pro-abortion zeal? By his saying, "God bless you" to Planned Parenthood? By his speaking of an unwanted teen pregnancy as a punishment?
As pro-life Americans, his statements and actions were outrageous to us. But it never crossed our minds to kick his press secretary, Josh Earnest, out of a restaurant. And it certainly never crossed the minds of Republican leaders to call for such things. To do so is to draw a very dangerous line and to set a very ugly precedent.
Rep. Waters, do you realize how upset we were when President Obama "changed" his position on homosexuality, becoming a champion for same-sex "marriage" after emphatically saying he rejected it as a Christian? (I say "changed" because it's fairly clear he lied about his earlier "Christian" view, falsely claiming that his views had recently evolved.)
For millions of evangelicals, there is nothing more sacred than the life of a baby in the womb and the sanctity of God-ordained (male-female) marriage. And our previous president led a frontal assault against both those fronts.
What if we had kicked you out of one of our restaurants because of your support for him? Would you have said, "I respect your convictions, and you have acted honorably?" I think not.
Before President Obama, the foreign policies of President George Bush were highly controversial, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and the displacement of millions. Some would argue that his policies saved many more lives, but the bottom line is that his decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq were fiercely opposed by many.
Yet it would have been unthinkable for someone to refuse service to one of his cabinet members or staff members. And had someone made that decision, there would not have been congressional leaders cheering that person on.
Rep. Waters, you know quite well that what goes around comes around, and this circle of hostility is only going to grow. Surely, as an African-American leader, you are more than aware of the ugliness that can rise in our society. The ugliness of slavery. The ugliness of segregation. The ugliness of division and hatred and bias and bigotry.
Yet today, you are fanning the flames of something equally dangerous. And if you're not careful, the flames will soon burn you (or someone else in your own ideological camp).
A famous liberal will be refused service based on political beliefs alone, then some conservative pundit will say, "If you could do it to Sarah Sanders, we can do it to you." And from there, it will only degenerate.
This is different than asking someone to violate their convictions by creating something they believe is wrong or sinful. (An example of this would be the case of Masterpiece Cakes and baker Jack Phillips.) No, we're talking today about refusing a family service in a restaurant because of their connection to the Trump administration.
We can only imagine what will happen tomorrow if the dangerous rhetoric of Maxine Waters is taken to heart, especially as a hostile media continues to provoke with misleading reports.
The situation is toxic enough as is. The last thing we need is for a public figure to throw more fuel on the fire.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Donald Trump Is Not My Savior. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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